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‘Twilight’ won’t dawn again until November 2011. Can fans handle the long layoff?

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By now it’s becoming a ritual as familiar as chilly weather and early turkey shopping. Summit announced late Tuesday that it would follow a pattern with “Breaking Dawn” that worked well for two other movies in its “Twilight” franchise: It would bring out the film the week before Thanksgiving, announcing the date of Nov. 18, 2011, for its release of the Bill Condon-directed film.

The surprising news here is that the movie, which will likely shoot in the fall, won’t be accelerated to come out next summer (as the third film, “Eclipse,” will when it’s released in June). Instead, Summit will wait another five months to bring out “Dawn” -- which means it will be nearly 18 months between the release of the third and fourth movies in the franchise, the longest layoff since “Twilight” began. (While Summit said in the announcement that it wouldn’t confirm a fifth film carved out of the latter part of the “Breaking Dawn” novel -- which furthers the mythology of Bella, Edward, Jacob and everyone else you’ve either devoured or struggled to avoid lo these many months -- it would be almost shocking if they didn’t do just that.)

It’s hard to know what’s motivating the 17-month lag. Talent schedules would seem to be a factor, but almost as likely, especially given the fifth-movie talk, is that the fourth and fifth films would need to be shot back-to-back -- which, depending on how it’s shot and edited, could require more time.

Will fans tolerate the long hiatus? The logic until now has been to push the movies forward at an accelerated clip to generate and play off fan interest. By the time June rolls around, three movies will have come out over a 19-month period. But for reasons either creative or financial, it will be another 17 months before the next one hits. That lag could further stoke anticipation among Twihards -- or it could cool interest.

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--Steven Zeitchik

(Follow me on Twitter.)


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